The Critical Nature of Wireless Infrastructure During the 5G Technology Evolution

The Critical Nature of Wireless Infrastructure During the 5G Technology Evolution

By John Mastrangelo, Esq. - Real Estate Manager, Advantage Engineers

This article is featured in The Chronicle - 2020 Vol. 28                         Published by Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC)
antenna modification

“Can you hear me now?”  A phrase that has taken on extra importance over the last 6 months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways.  Communication has never been more important, especially these days.  Healthcare workers and first responders’ access to instant information can mean the difference of life or death and with many working and learning remotely, the need for fast and reliable wireless service has become essential.  5G is next generation wireless network technology that is expected to change the way people live and work. It will be faster and able to handle more connected devices than the existing 4G LTE network, improvements that will enable a wave of new kinds of tech products.  The emergence of 5G technology is not only enabling facetime calls, zoom meetings, and Instagram scrolling, but also telehealth visits, pop-up hospitals, and testing centers.  5G technology has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds thereby improving the way businesses operate and individuals go about their daily lives.

The ultrafast speeds and higher capacity of the 5G signal require a greater amount of infrastructure due to the low distance the 5G signal travels.  While newer types of cell sites such as small cells and in building solutions have dominated the industry recently over what we know as traditional macro sites, the existing towers, rooftops and watertanks are still a critical aspect in achieving the goal of bringing 5G to everyone.

Telecommunication companies racing to provide 5G to the public will require partnerships with companies with the expertise to support the installation and maintenance of the 5G infrastructure that will spur the growth in economic and personal development moving forward. The deployment of temporary cell sites, COWs, and critical capacity installs for the ever changing and immediate needs of the wireless carriers in the southern New Jersey area.  For the past 10 years, communication companies and governmental entities in southern NJ have put their trust in the professionals at Advantage Engineers to provide the comprehensive engineering and consulting services to satisfy their telecommunication infrastructure needs.

In April, a major wireless carrier had multiple critical capacity needs to support the community and first responders amidst a surge of COVID-19 cases in Lakewood, NJ.  Advantage’s team of engineers and designers responded with a design and analysis of the temporary facilities that were brought in to relieve the strain on the network.  The team also managed the construction and coordinated with the landlord and general contractor to ensure construction was completed quickly and to the satisfaction of our client.

The full benefits for the 5G technology for individuals and businesses will not be realized for some time as communication companies continue to expand their network.  Further investment in the infrastructure that will bring 5G to everyone will be required.  Whether that investment in infrastructure calls for tower modifications, fiber, in-building wireless and small cells, communication companies can look to Advantage to provide the level of service required to meet their goals of making 5G a reality for everyone.

Advantage Engineers is a nationally recognized engineering and design firm, providing expert turnkey professional engineering and consulting services for the wireless, broadband, and fiber communications industry. We have 18 locations across the U.S. and are professionally licensed in 49 states and Washington, D.C.  We are experts at deploying telecommunications infrastructure from inception to completion and are driven to bring creativity, experience, and value to every project. To learn more about Advantage Engineers, visit

Letter from our CEO about COVID-19

To our valued customers,

The Coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous effect on all our lives. We have all had to adapt quickly to the new realities of our business and personal worlds. I am extraordinarily proud of how our team has handled the transition to a complete work from home environment with little or no impact to productivity and maintained focus on the success of our customers’ projects.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about our response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Aligning with public health recommendations - The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first concern. On March 12th we told employees they had the option to work from home if they chose to. On March 16th we strongly encouraged all employees to work remotely and closed all our offices except for essential visits. We have provided information and guidance on health and safety practices and protocols related to the Coronavirus to employees. We also sent numerous reminders about safe practice guidelines from the CDC and OSHA. We have done our best to provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing supplies to our field personnel and will continue to source products from wherever possible until we can ensure a constant, ready supply. All our offices have or will soon have sanitizing stations at the entrances to ensure the staff that do visit the offices are following safe hygiene practices upon entering our facilities.

Continued support for customer projects - As always, we remain committed to the success of your projects and have been able to maintain a high level of productivity despite the challenges. We are continuously monitoring issues that may impact project schedules such as zoning and permitting delays. We have worked with several jurisdictions to help facilitate online review and permit issuance and continue to look for solutions to the unique problems we are facing.

We have made additional investments in our Information Technology infrastructure to enable seamless connectivity, file and application access.

We are here for you and want to do everything we can to help you get through these challenging times.

Supporting our employees - We care a great deal about our employees and have endeavored to support them in every way possible during this crisis. We have increased the level of communication to ensure that the entire company knew how we were responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. We continue to provide updates on information related to health and safety. We instituted daily huddle calls for all project and technical discipline teams. We even held several online happy hours to help employees maintain the important connections they have with their coworkers. Our Human Resources department has also provided information and resources for physical and mental well-being.

We are trying to be cognizant of the unique conditions and stresses this event has put on our employees and their families. As we approach the one-month mark of working from home we want to acknowledge and attempt to alleviate some of that stress, so we have decided to give the company a mental health day/holiday on Friday, April 10th.  We will be closed for business that day in order to let our employees focus on their well-being and that of their families. We will, of course, be available should true emergencies arise on Friday and will look forward to coming back on Monday rejuvenated and even more ready to support you - our customers.

Thank you for your business and stay well.

Kindest regards,

Advantage Engineers Gears Up for 5G

Engineering Firm Gears up for 5G


The fifth generation of cellular communications is not only changing expectations of wireless speeds, but it is also having an effect on how corporate resources are being marshalled to meet the opportunity. Recently, as John McGrath looked forward to 5G, the CEO of Advantage Engineers decided to focus his firm on building out small cells and sell its division that provides geotechnical, environmental and construction materials testing.

“There are far fewer new towers than there were five years ago,” McGrath told AGL eDigest. “The business of the geotechnical, environmental business was focused on general commercial construction. We want to focus on telecommunications exclusively and really optimize that business as we go into this 5G buildout.”

Within the realm of telecommunications, Advantage Engineers is still diversified across tower modifications, fiber, in-building wireless and small cells. The firm provides program and project management, site acquisition, construction management and all engineering related to wireless site development.

“With the 5G buildout, we are going to continue to see an increase in small cell, in-building and venue opportunities. We are focusing on that,” McGrath said. “Macrosite modifications are still a significant part of our business. Our fiber-optic business has been growing for the last five years. We see a ton of opportunity there, as well.”

Capitalizing on Convergence

The advent of small cells has accelerated the convergence of two ecosystems, wireline and wireless, according to McGrath. “They used to be very separate. Wireline used to be seen as a necessary evil by the wireless folks, but now it is all co-mingled,” he said.

Advantage Engineers has capitalized on the convergence of the wireless and wireline spaces in its operations. Essentially, small cells are fiber dependent, and there is a lot of crossover of resources. The fiber-optic group works closely with our wireless group on certain projects.

“We see a lot of synergies between our small cell and fiber-optic businesses,” McGrath said. “We have a very collaborative environment where our project managers and engineers can seek out the expertise. It happens daily. People working on completely different projects are huddled around the same table working out a problem.”

Concerning infrastructure deployment in the right of way, Advantage Engineers may work with the same municipal officials on a fiber run and then a small cell deployment.

“At a jurisdictional level, where we have done fiber-optic routing in the right of way, it makes it a lot easier to go back to the municipal officials to deploy small cells,” McGrath said. “Still, a lot of the backhaul work is done by separate, small, independent fiber providers and I don’t see that changing in the near future.”

Growing West

Two years ago, Advantage Engineers merged with Synergy Development Services and Synergy Engineering Services, a wireless telecom engineering and consulting firm, giving it a number of locations in the west, including Van Nuys, Santa Rosa, Irvine and Ventura, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Bozeman, Montana.  Synergy operates as a division of Advantage Engineers.

“We are still optimizing that merger,” McGrath said. “Further geographic expansion will depend on the resolution of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger and the deployment of Dish Network as a 5G provider.”

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